Refrigerator Pickles

Not into canning? These are quick and easy pickles anyone can make, and a great way to use excess cucumbers. Substitute young zucchini and they are equally crunchy and delicious! You can recycle your empty peanut butter jars or buy canning jars. I like the one-piece white plastic lids sold in the canning jar section for these pickles vs. the two-piece metal canning jar lids.

For each pint canning jar you need:
  • 2 pickling cucumbers about the height of the jar (or one small zucchini)
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
  • 3/4 T salt
  • 2 tsp dill seed
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper seeds
  • 3/4 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
Cut unpeeled cucumbers in half or quarter lengthwise, and about 1/2" shorter than the jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar, turning some spears upside down to fit better. You can really pack them tightly, they shrink a bit when pickled. If using zucchini, cut similarly and pack into the jar. Or experiment and cut the veggies in chunks, and add different veggies. Add the garlic clove and the herbs and spices. In a measuring cup, mix the vinegar and water, then pour into the jar to cover the veggies. Tighten the lid and shake the jar to mix the ingredients. Add more vinegar mix if it has settled. Store in the refrigerator. They start to "marinate" or pickle in 24 hours, and are yummy after 4 days. These are not air-tight sealed jars, so best eaten within a few weeks. They don't usually stay around that long in my house!


Judy's Lemon Zucchini Bread

My two zucchini plants are producing a steady stock of squash these days, to the point where I've had to find creative ways to use them. Here is a yummy sweet bread, which we like for breakfast or dessert.
  • 2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp dried lemon peel or 1 T fresh lemon zest
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (tightly packed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.

Add zucchini mixture to flour mix, combining until just moist. Pour into loaf pan(s) and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

- I add 1 cup of blueberries to this; try other in-season chopped fruit like peaches or strawberries
- For a variation, substitute orange peel and extract for the lemon
- This freezes very well, and the recipe doubles well
- For picky eaters, peel the zucchini before grating and no one will suspect any foreign ingredient!